23 Feb 2005

Five charged over Fiji cup deny any involvement

4:35 pm on 23 February 2005

Five people charged with serious coup related offences in Fiji have given un-sworn statements denying any involvement.

All five have been charged with illegal assembly and consorting with people carrying firearms.

Radio Legend reports that former director of the Fiji Intelligence Service, Col Metuisela Mua, has told the Suva magistrates court that he was in parliament only to secure the release of the hostages.

Mua said he was also trying to arrange for the then opposition leader, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, to make a broadcast appealing for a stop to the rioting and looting taking place in the capital.

The former army lawyer, Tevita Bukarau, in his un-sworn statement, said he had not met any of the co-accused before the coup, nor did he know anything of people carrying firearms in parliament.

Bukarau said he was engaged as an advisor in negotiations between the military and the George Speight group.

Another accused, Viliame Sausauwai, said he was only in parliament to assist in handing out food to the thousands of people who had gathered.

Eroni Lewaqai and Jioji Bakoso gave other reasons to explain their presence in parliament.

The trial has been adjourned to March the 29th to enable both counsels to make their closing submissions.